Who got how much in the last federal election

 

 

 

They’ll outspend us — again

The AEC recently released the reports of donations above $12,400 given to all political parties during the financial year of the last federal election. Can you guess who got the most? Wait until you see who’s behind the money.

In the next couple of weeks we will launch our End of Financial Year fundraising appeal. Featuring Christine Milne, the appeal talks in detail about the need for us to fundraise at a grassroots level as we prepare for the biggest election battle of our 23-year history as the Australian Greens — the 2016 federal election. We know that, no matter how much we plan and prepare, the old parties and Big End of Town will continue to outspend The Greens during the election campaign.

Are you bored yet? Many people glaze over when fundraising is mentioned. Asking people for money….it’s all so gauche somehow.

But without it we are dead in the water. The truth of the matter is that without donations made to our party we cannot compete with the old parties or the cashed-up millionaire party of Clive Palmer.

The Australian Electoral Commission (AEC) has recently published Annual Returns for the 2013/2014 financial year. By law, all registered political parties in Australia must lodge a return with the AEC, declaring all individual donations over $12,400.

PARTY

# DONATIONS OVER THRESHOLD

INCOME

# OTHER RECEIPTS

INCOME

TOTAL

ALP

132

$10,865,493

731

$41,621,232

$52,486,725

Liberals

225

$20,005,585

249

$56,599,990

$76,605,575

Australian Greens

32

$1,666,954

92

$11,241,228

$12,908,182

The Nationals

25

$1,281,313

24

$6,800,897

$8,082.210

Palmer United Party

5

$25,932,983

1

$2,828,547

$28,761,530

Follow the money

That first column is the number of individual donations over the threashold of $12,400 which were declared. The Nationals and PUP only report to the AEC donations over the threshold while the Liberals have reported a handful of gifts between $5,000 and $12,300 and The Greens and the ALP report some smaller donations. However, so we are comparing apples with apples, donations under the threshold have been omitted from this table. Other receipts refers to amounts received which don’t meet the legislative definition of ‘gift’ (commonly referred to as donation). Examples are interest on investments, dividends on shares, and reimbursements for public election funding from the AEC. In the case of the Australian Greens, this includes contributions by state parties and distributions to the States of funds raised by the Australian Greens.

Looking at each Party by group, the results — while unsurprising — are a disturbing snapshot of who is giving money to our political parties. (If you want to play along at home, check out our site Democracy4Sale where you can search donations back to 1998.)

Over in the red corner the ALP declared a $600,000 single donation from Chinese conglomerate Australia Kingold Investment Development Co P/L who — according to their website — is ‘anchored in the real estate industry… investments include education, culture, mass-media, catering and hotels, telecommunications, pharmaceuticals, healthcare and beauty, smart card systems and eco-tourism. That’s quite a list. In addition to this gift, contributions totalling $80k were made by AUSTRALIA KINGOLD INVESTMENT DEVELOPMENT CO. PTY, Kingold Group, Kingold Group Companies and Kingold Investment group.  All have similar names and all are located at the same address in Chatswood, NSW.

Second on the list is SA Progressive Business. Chaired by former ALP Senator Nick Bolkus, the group is an associated entity of the ALP and “forums bring together leaders from both business and government to exchange ideas and discuss issues critical to building a prosperous State.”

The ALP’s top individual donor was Zi Chun Wang who, according to The Guardian, “is employed by a Chinese-Australian property development group called the Ever Bright Group. The company confirmed he is currently employed at the group and working in China.” His contributions total $850,000.

In the blue corner, the Libs list is abrim with a who’s who of big business. Vapold Pty Ltd contributed $1.9 million to the party, and it’s interesting to note that one of its directors is John Calvert-Jones — a stockbroker and Rupert Murdoch’s brother in law. The web of intrigue gets thicker here. According to the SMH another director of that company is Charles Goode, a retiring Director of ANZ — also a big donor to the party. The Cormack Foundation has been raising money for the Libs for years now and two of the three directors are none other than John Calvert-Jones and Charles Goode. In 2013/2014 alone, this foundation donated $4,260,000 to their Liberal mates.

Not all donors hide their contributions in a myriad of foundations, trusts and clubs. Village Roadshow, Cabcharge Australia, Clubs Australia, Nimrod Resources and tobacco giant Philip Morris have — between them — contributed $1,075,000 to the coffers. Kingold — the ALP’s top donor — also slung $200k to the Libs.

The Nationals too have declared a gift from Kingold to the tune of $100k and contributions from Philip Morris ($20k) and Australian Hotels & Hospitality Association ($50k). It’s interesting to note that on their own, the Nationals wouldn’t be able to compete at the level they currently appear to — they clearly rely on their wealthier coalition partner. Intriguingly, the Greens polled higher than the Nationals on primary votes in the NSW Election — but got nowhere near the number of seats.

The return submitted by the Palmer United Party is a list of Clive’s assets united.

Palmer Leisure contributed $90k, Palmer Coolum Resort $2.2million, Mineralogy $8.2million, Queensland Nickel $15million, and Clive himself managed to contribute some loose change: $101k.

We Greens declared a mere $1.7million across the entire country — above the Nationals but well short of the others.

Where to from here?

We all know that contesting elections is expensive. Clive is preparing to sue Jacqui Lambie and Glenn Lazarus for costs incurred by the Palmer United Party for their election campaigns. Jacqui is facing a bill of $2 million; Glenn, $7 million. $9 million for two people. By comparison, the Australian Greens spent less than $5 million on the 2013 election — across the whole country.

It’s not that we Greens don’t accept donations from unions or corporate entities. With the exception of the Greens NSW (where it is a Party policy that corporate donations cannot be accepted) all State parties — and the Australian Greens — can accept donations from organisations. However, donations are vetted by Donation Reference Groups (DRG) in each state — and in the case of contributions being made to the Australian Greens — the DRG has representatives from each state and contributions over $1,500 are listed on our website.

The Australian Greens donation policy clearly states that the Greens “…ensure that the values and aspirations of all donors are not inconsistent with those encapsulated in the policies and the Charter of the Australian Greens”. You can read that full donation policy online too. And we must stand by this. Not because it is just the right thing to do — but also because we must not be put ourselves into a position where we could be seen to be compromising our fundraising with political favours.

In the face of enormous contributions by vested interests to the old parties, we rely upon donations from our members, our supporters and the fundraising efforts by our Branches and Local Groups to fund strategic, clever and well researched election campaigns. It is the only way that we can keep standing up for what matters and it’s the only way we can continue to build our party across the country. And the stronger our party, the stronger our vote.

Not so boring any more, huh?

Please donate to our end-of-financial-year appeal today.

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